Cell phone ban for drivers
Posted by Ryan (+485) 12 years ago
Banning drivers from using cell phones while operating their vehicles is on the agenda of the Miles City Council's Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
The action concerns the proposed Ordinance No. 1196, which outlines the exceptions and the penalties that could be imposed.
According to the ordinance, banned would be "handheld cellular telephones and other voice and electronic communication devices by vehicle operators while the vehicle is in motion." It notes that this practice "constitutes an unreasonable distraction to the vehicle operator."
The ordinance states that the distractions cause a hazard and increase the potential for accidents.
It defines "mobile communication device" as a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication which includes talking or listening on a mobile communications device, text messaging, sending, reading or listening to an electronic message, or browsing the internet via the mobile communications device.
The exceptions are law enforcement and other emergency responders; operators of governmental transportation and public works vehicles, when on duty or acting in their official capacity; or those people who use a mobile communications device by means of a hands-free device; using a device to call 911 or other emergency numbers to contact public safety forces; or using it while the vehicle is parked and not in gear.
The penalty would be $50 on first conviction, $100 for second conviction, $200 for a third time, and a fine not to exceed $500 for any conviction after the third time.
The ordinance calls for signs to be put up giving notice that the ordinance is in effect.
The signs will be on the city limits line at the Tongue River bridges on Main Street and on Pacific Street, on the Yellowstone River bridge on Highway 59 North, on South Haynes Avenue, on South Strevell Avenue and on Valley Drive East.
If the proposed ordinance passes both readings (on March 9 and 23), it will go into effect 30 days following the March 23 vote. A public hearing will be held on March 23 if the ordinance passes the March 9 vote.


Just wondering what everyone is thinking on this. I have noticed teens driving and texting. One time I saw a man on a motorcycle texting and driving which scared me. But I will admit I have done it a time or two but I support the city to enforce this.

My best friend lost a niece in AZ to texting and driving. They passed a law after she lost her life. I don't want my life or any of my children to lose their life.
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Posted by Jerry Smith (+260) 12 years ago
I too support this.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
Would it be a primary offense (the police can pull you over for using your phone) or a secondary offense (the police can cite you for this only if they observe you committing some other infraction)?

I don't support it because:

1. It allows for use of hands-free devices. I believe it is the conversation that distracts and not holding the phone.

2. It allows too many exemptions. I don't believe the police/public officials/etc. are magically capable of safely driving and having a phone conversation while the general public is not. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
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Posted by Ryan (+485) 12 years ago
David,
You have a point in #2. I know of couple officers who do pull over to talk but observe others that don't.
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Posted by john w caylor (+85) 12 years ago
I agree, but law enforcement I think needs to utilize cell phones due to all the scanners. Kind of tough to sneak up on someone when they know you're coming. Emergency response also for there are times they have to relay some pretty private information that the rest of the world does not need to hear. As far as city and government workers though, they should be held to the same standards as the public. If seen using a cell phone while driving they should be busted just like we will be.

This is a good ordinance if done right.
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Posted by athome (+361) 12 years ago
I can't imagine the (conversation) itself being the distraction. Are you stating that conversing with people inside the car whilst driving is a detriment to one's ability to drive a vehicle?
That argument seems ludicrous to me.
The real distraction with communication devices is (texting) period.
It requires at least one hand and most of the time two hands to perform a text in addition to a visual confirmation as well, which compromises most of the drivers tools for commandering a vehicle.

I would support a ban on texting while the vehicle is (in motion).
I would not however support a ban on cell phone conversing.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
I feel that having a conversation in the vehicle is actually safer than having nothing at all. Why? You can't fall asleep if you are being kept busy. Sure, you can listen to music, but if you start singing to that, isn't it just as bad as talking on a phone or talking to someone else in the car? If you outlaw cellular use in a car, you must also outlaw having passengers, along with a stereo, any button whatsoever within the car, and more. You can crash just as easy by pressing the button on the stereo as you can talking on a phone.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
What may come as an interesting surprise is that, even if a cell phone is being used completely hands-free, the risk of having an accident doesn't seem to be reduced. Apparently, the act of conversing on the phone - not holding the phone to your ear - is the more dangerous distraction. Emotional conversations in particular seem to elevate risk. So hands-free or not, there's an increased risk to DWY.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many people are using hands-free devices. Most of the research has been performed by looking at phone bill records at the time of the accident. But according to the IIHS there is enough data to suggest that although hands-free phones eliminate the physical distraction of handling phones, the cognitive distraction still remains.

NHTSA's 2005 study on wireless phone interfaces showed that while participants had a tougher time steering with a hand held phone, it also made calls the fastest and had less dialing errors than a hands free unit. Our resistance to grasp this wireless technology may lead to slow adoption rates. Even in states or localities where cell phones are banned, there is a serious problem with compliance.

The IIHS's study adds that "...even if total compliance with bans on drivers' hand-held cell phone use can be achieved, crash risk will remain to the extent that drivers continue to use or switch to hands-free phones."


http://www.edmunds.com/ow...ticle.html
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 12 years ago
I would be fine with this. I imagine that the fine would be relatively small? At least on the first offense?

I think that the conversation alone is definitely distracting, although not as much as trying to dial your phone etc. while driving. It's worse than having a passenger as well just because your passenger will probably realize when concentration is required and shut up if you are going through heavy traffic or the like. I'll admit that I sometimes answer my phone while driving but never initiate calls.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15197) 12 years ago
Why not simply enforce current laws to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner rather than pass yet another law.

If you are going to ban something, ban the eating of doughnuts, drinking of coffee, and watching female joggers. Those are the real distraction driving in Miles City.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (3/9/2010)]
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Posted by Russell Bonine (+242) 12 years ago
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Posted by William Cain (+60) 12 years ago
I think the people who come up with ban on cell phones while driving should just stay in there homes and let the rest of us alone
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
I'm with Levi in that having a conversation with someone in your car is different than conversing on the phone. Passengers react along with the driver to changing conditions that require the driver to focus on driving and stop conversing. Passengers can also help the driver watch out for hazards on the road; an extra set of eyes.

There is no doubt in my mind that driving and talking on the cell phone is more risky than not but I still believe that it's not the act of holding the phone that creates the most risk. It's having your mind on the conversation (whether handheld or hands-free) that makes for inattentive driving.

Dialing happens regardless of handheld or hands-free. If you can do voice commands with hands-free you can do voice commands with handheld. Dialing is no doubt one of the more dangerous times because your eyes are off the road.

Texting and driving is just plain crazy. So is reading the morning newspaper and driving but we don't have laws specifically against doing that. It's called "inattentive driving".

USA Today: Driver phone bans' impact doubted
By Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

A national crackdown on distracted driving takes an unexpected turn today. A new study shows that the number of traffic crashes did not drop in three states and the District of Columbia after they banned drivers from using handheld cellphones.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), examined insurance claims for crash damage in New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C., before and after handheld bans took effect and found no reduction in crashes.


CONTINUED: http://www.usatoday.com/t...hone_N.htm
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6173) 12 years ago
If you outlaw cellular use in a car, you must also outlaw having passengers, along with a stereo, any button whatsoever within the car, and more. You can crash just as easy by pressing the button on the stereo as you can talking on a phone.


Yes, you can. But studies have shown that using a cell phone is akin to being legally drunk. Pushing one button doesn't rise this kind of risk. And while a distraction, neither do passengers.

Why not simply enforce current laws to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner rather than pass yet another law.


Taking this to its logical conclusion there's no reason to have separate drunk driving laws. Why not just enforce "reasonable and prudent manner" laws? Because there's a vastly increased risk to other people when you drive drunk. The risk is the same for talking on your cell phone. It's much higher when you're texting. So I guess if you're not queasy about getting behind the wheel when you're sloshed, go ahead. Talk and drive all you want.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
Oh, and I suppose when a Mid-40 year old woman or man, who happens to know little about the radio in their car, looks down to change the station and takes their eyes off of the road is less hazardous than someone who is keeping their eyes on the road but happens to be talking on a phone? Doubt it. I will say I do infact talk on my phone quiet abit while driving. Yet, I still stop for pedestrians. Stop for red lights. Use my blinker on every turn. Turn my headlights on when it becomes dark.(Which I have to say, some people in this town apparently believe the blue icon on the dash means their lights are on... when it really means BRIGHTS......)

I would be more than willing to prove this to anyone, but I do not at all talk on the phone while driving when someone is within my car with me. I ignore it. It may be dangerous, and someday it may cause a wreck. I wouldn't want my stupidness to hurt someone else with me.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15197) 12 years ago
Taking this to its logical conclusion there's no reason to have separate drunk driving laws.


The law should be about preventing distracted driving, not prohibiting individual behaviors.

Honestly, the navigation radio or GPS unit can as distracting as talking on your cellphone. Perhaps a separate law dealing with the use of the Tom-Tom is in order.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
I will also add that I believe this should be legislated at the state level and not the city or county level.

Richard is right about navigation systems being distracting. Also, portable DVD/in-car entertainment systems, and soon we will see the equivalent of a laptop computer mounted on the dash of cars. The problem goes beyond cell phones and is only going to get worse.

Josh, I don't doubt that you drive very well (most of the time) while talking on your cell phone. It only takes a moment though for something bad to happen. And once it does, there's no going back. Also, it's the other driver that can be of concern. You're blabbing on your cell phone and some fool runs a stoplight and hits you. But, the very fact that the phone records will show that you were engaged in a phone call at the time of the accident will call into question your complicity in the accident. You may be 100% innocent but the fact that you were on the phone can be used against you when determining fault for the accident. Think about that.
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Posted by polar bear (+505) 12 years ago
Having had 2 family members have cars completely totaled inside of one year due to people talking on cell phones and smashing into them at full speed, I vote for NO hand held communication.
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Posted by Tracy P. (+94) 12 years ago
I am personally for the ban on cell phone usage and texting while driving. About a month ago I dropped my son off, by the cross walk, at Lincoln School. Him and another kid started to walk across when this white car, with a young female driver heading to the college and talking on her phone, flew by them going about 30 in a school zone and had to swerve to not hit both of them. She was inches away from hitting my son and the other kid. I admit, I have talked on my phone and texted to; but then I saw a special on Oprah and it indicated that talking while driving is like driving drunk and texting is 8 times worse. You don't see all around you, it's like tunnel vision and your looking away from the road for 5+ seconds that could take someones life. Since this show on Oprah I figured I live in MC and it takes 5 minutes to get anywhere you need to go so that text can wait or I can pull over for that phone call. No ones life is worth taking over a phone call or a text. You all need to think about this and stop complaining. You will see the next time you are texting and driving and hurt someone how much that phone call or text could have waited.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12085) 12 years ago
You are supposed to be in control of huge machine capable of killing and maiming yourself and others and the machine requires your complete attention. You don't pay as much attention to your radio as you do to a phone call, especially if you are straining to hear what is being said. If your GPS is distracting, write down the directions and turn it off.

I am regularly terrified by people driving down the middle of the street, blabbing away, turning corners or running stop signs completely engrossed in their conversation. I know they think they are paying attention but they sure look surprised when they see a pedestrian in a crosswalk or another car in the lane of traffic.

No phone call is worth dying for. Hang up and drive!
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Posted by Steve Sullivan (+1406) 12 years ago
I have noticed more distracted drivers using cell phones than any other gadget in the car. Prior to the increased use of cell phones the distractions were not evident to me. Now I notice distracted drivers more often and in each case they are using a cell phone and not any other device.

Some of the reports that were stated about a cell phone ban not reducing the amount of accidents doesn't prove that the people involved in those accidents that still happened were NOT using cell phones.

This could be a great way for the city to increase revenue too. What is so important anyway that a driver can't pull over to talk or use the phone at a more acceptable time? It seems we all did fine for a long time without talking in cars on phones. Why not get people back to focusing on the task at hand which is safely piloting a 2,000 projectile capable of doing great harm safely from point A to point B? I'm all for having fines to promote responsible driving.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
I generally use my phone for one of these things.

1. To answer a call from my boss or parent.

2. To call my boss or parent or a business partner to talk/meet with them.

3. To tell a friend something they wanted me to reply to via text which was semi important, while if I were to pull over and take the time to talk I would be late.

and 4. To change the song on my radio. I use pandora in my car, through my phone.

Generally I never touch my phone during heavy traffic. I tend to be on it when there are few cars around.
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Posted by polar bear (+505) 12 years ago
Josh, none of those can wait 5 minutes? If that is the case you need to look at how you are living your life and how it might play out to live your life after having run over a child chasing a ball across the street.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
polar bear, trust me. I pay more attention to the road than my phone. I will stop talking and hang up on someone if i need to concentrate.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
Okay, let's look at it this way:

1.) Annualized, what is the fatality rate from traffic accidents within the city limits of the City of Miles City that can be attributed to the use of a cellular telephone by the operator(s) of the motor vehicle(s) involved?

2.) Annualized, what is the cost of treating personal injuries from traffic accidents within the city limits of the City of Miles City that can be attributed to the use of a cellular telephone by the operator(s) of the motor vehicle(s) involved?

3.) Annualized, what is the cost of property damage caused by traffic accidents within the city limits of the City of Miles City that can be attributed to the use of a cellular telephone by the operator(s) of the motor vehicle(s) involved?

I'm sure the City Council is taking this data into consideration when deciding how to vote on this ordinance. Surely the mayor or any member of the council can cite this data as it must be the root of the problem they are trying to solve with this ordinance.
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Posted by dudemeister (+93) 12 years ago
Texting while driving is the STUPIDEST thing anyone could do. for sure put a ban on that. Talking while driving is giving me mixed feelings. I'm guilty of talking & driving. I do own a hands free set, not blue tooth cuz i'm poor, not really poor but enough. Let's say this ban took place. Would you be allowed to use speaker phone or hands free devices? If an officer drove past you & you were actually singing along to the radio & he thought maybe you were on the phone, could they pull you over? So I say YES, Ban texting. That is just redonkulous. For once I agree with Rath, but not with his examples but there sometimes are emergencies (doctors and such) that will need access to phones. Thumbs down on the talking ban.

One more thing, who is our new mayor?
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1434) 12 years ago
Everything David said - ditto and ditto.

Ban the hands-free as well and close the loopholes. We're dealing with the same thing here in Des Moines this week and we're likely to be in line with Federal guidelines but they, too, only recognize the texting aspect not the calling itself (handheld or hands-free).

Put the damn phone down.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
So, did a "cell phone ban" ordinance really come before the city council last night? Did the council vote on it? What was the outcome?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12085) 12 years ago
Josh, I have no doubt you are convinced you are paying attention to your driving when you are blabbing away on an unimportant conversation but studies show you aren't. Your eyes may be on the road but the brain is focused on the conversation.

I reiterate--that means repeat--no phone call is worth dying or killing for. Hang up and drive. That will solve the problem.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
As I have said previously --that means before-- I would love to demonstrate my ability to drive on the phone vs off, but when someone is in my car with me the phone stays down.
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+594) 12 years ago
Education not regulation is the real answer. I see real problems with 'selective enforcement' Again, would this be a primary or secondary reason for a traffic stop?
The intent may be noble but the result might be nebulous. I agree that distracted driving is a problem but again education is the answer.
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Posted by Bill Freese (+475) 12 years ago
A really skillful driver can do all kinds of stupid things while driving. But a really good driver does not do those stupid things, even if he can. It is the difference between skill and wisdom. Why do we need another law? Because, as this thread demonstrates, there are folks who have the skill, but not the wisdom.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 12 years ago
There was a study, I think it's even been posted here, that came out recently on multitasking that showed that the better someone thinks that they are at multitasking, the worse at it they actually are. Based on this I can only conclude that Josh is particularly dangerous behind the wheel so give him a wide berth.
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Posted by stephen (+258) 12 years ago
So Josh, you say you only stay off the phone when there are others in your car. Well, when your alone, their are other drivers ON THE ROAD! Duh. One day, when you do get in a wreck and kill or seriously injure someone, maybe you can rethink that.
I'm all for this ban. My friend is ALWAYS texting and driving and I actually told her a federal law passed that illegalized it just so she'd stop. It scares me to death. We have been in so many near accidents I really know that any phone use is dangerous.

I mean just her phone ringing is a distraction because she has to look for it, read it, and reply.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6173) 12 years ago
As I have said previously --that means before-- I would love to demonstrate my ability to drive on the phone vs off, but when someone is in my car with me the phone stays down.


This is a really weird thing to stay. When someone is with you in the car you don't talk on the phone. So you seem to recognize the danger of answering the phone while driving and you are being considerate of your passengers. But as others have said, you are not the only vehicle on the road. There are vehicles and pedestrians all around you. So if you recognize the danger why are you only concerned about your passenger and not the others on the roads and sidewalks?

And you don't have the time to pull over and call someone back? You live in Miles City. You can pull over anywhere in 10 seconds. That's a bit of a reach.
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+592) 12 years ago
Josh I think it may be marginaly safer to use your phone while somone else is in the car with you. They may see something while you are distracted and be able to warn you. I know that I am distracted from driving just taking my phone out of my pocket to see who is calling. it took a couple close incidents for me. I now pull over or ignore calls while driving.
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Posted by Christen LeBlanc Ramsey (+268) 12 years ago
here in oregon this is currently the law. i semi-support it- i don't believe anyone should be texting and driving (you can wait, or do it at red lights.) also if someone is talking into those lame blue-tooth things it is hard to hear what they are saying if you are on a regular phone or cell phone. if you can drive a 5-speed vehicle (that's multi-tasking) you can carry on a conversation on the phone; provided, you are making more of an effort to be aware of your surroundings.

personally, i think montana needs to get the drunk driver problem under control before going after stuff like this.
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Posted by Ben Rice (+26) 12 years ago
I STRONGLY OPPOSE this ban. What right does the city council have to tell me- When, Where, and How i can use my phone/ 2 way radio? I see this as a direct violation of my rights. I feel that our law enforcement have a number of better things to do than to make sure that i am not using my phone! I feel that this is a way for the city to make money. Maybe they should start making sure our residents have a valid Montana drivers license and registration! Then set a fine for those who are knowingly avoiding to do so. I think the idea of LOCAL government controlling MY property is outrageous and should not be tolerated.
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Posted by Kacey (+3155) 12 years ago
I wish Billings would ban cell phone use while drivimg too. Josh,Ben and others who oppose this, it only takes a second to take a life. One second of not paying complete attention to your vehicle.

I know we have laws and fines for all sorts of careless and wreckless driving. Unfortunately those are usually only given AFTER an accident. The purpose of this law would be to stop people who are driving carelessly by talking on their phones or texting while driving.

It comes down to being mature enough to know that you are driving a vehicle capable of killing others if you're not 100% focused on your driving.

I can't think of any reason in Miles City why a person couldn't stop for thirty seconds to make a call or send a text message. It's not like you're in bumper to bumper traffic and need to pull off on an exit and spend ten minutes getting back into traffic.
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Posted by Stewey (+12) 12 years ago
I think it is just as ludicrous to say it is okay to pull over to the side of the road to answer the phone. I just witnessed a woman (probably because this ban is in the news, or perhaps she has always behaved this way) pull over to the side of road, right in front of me on Main Street and answer her cell phone. She suddenly jerks her car right, using no blinker in the process, and attempts to pull off the road, not being completely out of the lane of traffic.

If this ordinance is passed, people might as well get where they are going and then return the phone call. For most people who carry their phone in their purse or their pocket, from the time the phone rings there is simply not enough time to hear the phone, pull over to the side of the road SAFELY and not recklessly (giving no warning to the trailing traffic), pull the phone out of the purse/pocket and answer it, all before it stops ringing. This pulling over nonsense to answer the phone is ridiculous, just as this woman tonight proved.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15197) 12 years ago
The only way this law stops anything is if you get caught before you have a wreck. I don't think it is that much of a deterrent. It basically keeps honest people honest. Don't believe me? Consider all of the speed limit laws on the books. Yet there are still people who drive faster than the speed limit.

I don't use text messaging. I bought the stupid cell phone to TALK. I have my phone connected to the hands-free sync system in my pickup. I don't call people while I drive and will only very rarely answer a call while in motion. IF I answer a call, I always pull over mostly because I am concerned about the call being dropped.

That said, we don't need more laws protecting us from our own stupidity. If we want to continue to enjoy self-govenment, we need to practice self-dicipline.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (3/10/2010)]
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Posted by Kenro (+38) 12 years ago
I believe if such a ban in put in place. It should apply to all, including law enforcement and emergency vehicles.
if digital is a must for protection of all, then hands free devices should be obtained.
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Posted by stephen (+258) 12 years ago
WELL someone must have seen the accident on main street tonight. I was in the blue van.... I can tell you it was a pretty bad accident, and I can tell you that I knew it was going to happen eventually.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
Accident? I've been home all day.
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Posted by Ben Rice (+26) 12 years ago
The fact of the matter is, government legislating what I can and can not do with MY personal property. You can't souly blame cell phones for accidents and deaths on the roadway. Phones are a small part of the distraction of driving. If we ban phones, we may as well ban- women putting makeup on- gps devices- radio's- eating- even carring on a conversation with a passenger in the car.So my point is-allowing the government to micro manage our live, brings us one step closer to a socialist government. The choice of not using a cell phone while driving should be based on a individuals ethical choice.
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+594) 12 years ago
Really hard to legislate wisdom, Bill. I only wish it was that easy. Many laws are passed for the 'feel good' aspect and to allow politicians to say 'I did something to address this problem.'
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Posted by Olson Fencing of Montana Inc. (+7) 12 years ago
It is my belief that you have to except this ordinance in its entirety or not at all. In its current for there is exceptions for police using cell phones, I disagree with this. I believe that this is not acceptable and that CB scrambling systems are available so they can keep their private conversations. I don't believe that there should be any exemption for government transportation or city works. They should be held to the same standards as the rest of us (a driver of a 10' wide snow plow loaded with sand is more dangerous and requires more attention to operate than a 2 ton car). Another thing is that there are a lot of local businesses that rely on radio communication in order to operate. Why should they be told that they cannot use radios but city workers can? It's all or nothing. In Wednesday's paper I saw that Police Chief Doug Columbik is already talking about selective enforcement (my interpretation) of two way radios. My opinion is that if this is something that you will not always enforce then it should be changed, or removed so that it is enforceable.
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Posted by Neveah (+45) 12 years ago
I'll admit, I didn't take the time to read through everyone's arguements, so maybe someone beat me to this point, but...

While I agree text/ talking on the cell and driving can be hazardous, I see a flaw in laws such as this. What about the people who...

smoke and drive?
eat and drive?
read a map and drive?
put on makeup and drive?
mess with the radio/ get CDs out and drive?

etc...

Until they can enforce a law that makes it so you pretty much can't do anything but drive, how can it be fair?

Before the onslaught...

I realize my proposal is ridiculous... I'm playing the advocate card for kicks.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
I see on the Miles City Star website (http://www.milescitystar.com) that the council passed the "first reading" of the cell phone ban ordinance 4-2. It sounds like it will be a primary offense.

I love these quotes from Chief of Police Doug Colombik:

"Not everyone on a cell phone will be pulled over, and not everyone pulled over will get a ticket."

Spencer Jarrett of Jarrett Construction said he uses two-way radios while taking wide loads through town to increase the safety factor.

Police Chief Doug Colombik said that the officers will show some flexiblility with heavy equipment loads.


Selective enforcement of the law is always nice. It's like saying if you're driving a high performance sports car it's okay to exceed the speed limit because the car is designed for high speeds.
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Posted by sdcc96 (+213) 12 years ago
Food for thought regarding law enforcement/emergency personnel being able to use cell phones and radios while driving - What if they are responding to an emergency and need to be in contact with the dispatcher via radio or other officers via cell phone? Do you really expect them to pull over to communicate while responding to an emergency? If they were on their way to YOUR house in response to a robbery or assault call and officers are working together to try and apprehend the criminal or respond to the situation in an effective way, should they really be expected to stop for a few moments on the side of the road in order to make their plans? Come on, people. I know that officers aren't perfect and there are definitely times when they are on the phone when it isn't absolutely necessary, but you have to view their job responsibilities as a little different than the average joe's.

I think the ban is a good thing and I think it is necessary to allow law enforcement and emergency personnel to use phones/radios when necessary - when necessary. Just imagine a life threatening situation involving yourself or a loved one. It doesn't mean I condone officers using the phone to BS with others while on the job and driving around. Strictly on an as-needed basis.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
Two-way radios have been in use for many years and they never became the apparent problem that cell phones have become. (I'm still waiting to hear the stats. that show cell phone usage in Miles City is a problem that needs to be solved.)

I'm puzzled by the ban on two-way radios. Is banning the use of two-way radios the norm in "handheld cell phone ban" laws?

"Breaker, breaker, good buddy. I'm going to have to sign off now because I just entered the city limits of Miles City, Montany."
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
If the thing passes, good luck. Seriously, there is no way they can keep you off your phone. Most new cars have bluetooth connectivity within. Like mine. So what will happen? I'll just connect it to my car and it will seem like I am listening to music, but no. I'm on the phone. As I said before, MC will have to ban stereos also if they want to solve this, which they can't.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12085) 12 years ago
What we need people to do is not be stupid and talk on the phone while driving. Or do other distracting things while driving like fiddle with equipment or put on make up or eat lunch or read the newspaper (don't laugh. A very clear childhood memory is driving on a freeway in Los Angeles in my aunt's car during rush hour, glancing over and seeing a guy with the newspaper spread out over this steering wheel.)

Oh, sorry. Never mind. I can't ask the impossible.

One last time. Driving takes concentration, even in Miles City. Hang up and drive. Put down your lunch and drive. Pay attention and drive!
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
From the Miles City Star article:

Uden, whose effort brought the ordinance to the council, said he's personally seen a number of Lincoln School students nearly hit by someone on a cell phone.

He reasoned that, since high school students can't text or use cell phones in school, as soon as school gets out they get in their cars, take off and start texting.


So the problem we're trying to solve is the high school kids fresh out of school in a texting frenzy zipping past Lincoln Grade school kids and nearly running them over?

For one, I think it's crazy if the high school kids are released from school at the same time of day as the grade school kids, cell phone usage or not. Let the grade school kids out 15 minutes before the high school kids so they can be collected and safe before those crazy teens get behind the wheel of their cars. Problem solved, no new legislation required.

In all sincerity, I think someone should force the city council to:

1. Quantify the problem they are trying to solve with this ordinance. Accident statistics, please.

2. Once the problem has been quantified, then when the ordinance goes into effect, a year or two down the road re-evaluate the data and show that the ordinance had the desired effect.

If they can't do that...
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Posted by john w caylor (+85) 12 years ago
Maybe this will help Go to you-tube, myth busters, cell phones vs drunk driving.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
Here you go, John. Does the proposed Miles City ordinance ban all cell phone use or just handheld use?

http://kwc.org/mythbuster...posit.html
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
If I recall, gradeschoolers get released at 3:05 PM, while the highschool is released at 3:15pm. Maybe I am wrong though.
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Posted by Ryan (+485) 12 years ago
Your right Josh.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
I was curious about this two-way radio thing. Imagine the MCPD hanging out by the S. Haynes Ave./I-94 interchange busting truckers for talking on their CB radios. Pretty soon the truckers will be bypassing Miles City altogether. That would take care of that "truckers causing casinos on Haynes Ave." problem.

Anyhow, I was wondering, is it typical for a cell phone ban to also ban the use of two-way radios. The first newspaper article I found was this one from Kaua'i and apparently they quickly decided to eliminate the ban on two-way radios:

http://thegardenisland.co...03286.html
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+594) 12 years ago
Policing personal behavior just doesnt work! I reiterate: Education,Education, Education.

Might not get you your immediate gratification but will have greater results.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6173) 12 years ago
What is it about a ringing phone that causes good sense to fly out the window? I can understand it in the old days when there were no answering machines or voice mail. People were afraid of missing something important. But everyone has voice mail. There's no need to grab for the phone just because it rings. Let it ring while you safely pull to the side of the road. Then return the call. What's so hard about that?


For Josh: Our legislature just banned cell phone use while driving for those under 18. Texting while driving is banned for everyone.

[This message has been edited by Wendy Wilson (3/11/2010)]
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
The photo above and the "Hall of Shame" thread title gave me an idea. Have someone take photos of people driving down the street blabbing on their cell phone and post them in the "Cell Phone Users' Hall of Shame". See if that curtails the behavior. A photo a day in the local newspaper.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
Under 18? Oh dang. I can't use my phone for a whole MONTH in my car. Boohoo! Waaaaa! Pssh. Bluetooth Car Audio FTW.
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Posted by john w caylor (+85) 12 years ago
It seems the topic is heading south. Now how about taking it one step past the coffee shop or picket fence. Everybody that is old enough (18+)and still a registered voter here call there respective council person and voice to him/her their concerns and ideas so that on the 23rd the may have a chance to make an informed decision based on the many instead of the few. I know this concept might be far fetched. But you never know it might work ?
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+592) 12 years ago
My guess is the same people that are against a cell phone ban while driving. Were also against the seat belt laws, and mandatory car liability insurance.
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
The mandatory liability insurance and seatbelt laws were good legislation that worked. I'm not so sure that the "handheld" cell phone law is good legislation that will work. Apparently it hasn't worked in the states where it has been implemented.

Look at it this way. Take my handheld cell phone and glue it to the side of my face just like a hands-free headset. Now I drive down the road legally blabbing on my phone and now I have a free hand to hold my super gulp-sized soft drink. What has the law accomplished?

"Well, don't be so stupid," you say. Exactly. Don't be so stupid.

[This message has been edited by David Schott (3/12/2010)]
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Posted by David Schott (+17668) 12 years ago
Apparently Missoula's mayor vetoed their cell phone ban and the ordinance was watered down to be just a ban on texting. Two months after the law went into effect no citations had been issued. I wonder how many citations have been issued to date. And if it's none, is that because nobody texts while driving or because the law in unenforceable...
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+594) 12 years ago
I'll give up my cell phone when you pry it from my cold,dead hands! (my apologies to all the hand gun fanatics out there)

Again, education not regulation!
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Posted by Neveah (+45) 12 years ago
This song could be the theme for the new law...
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 12 years ago
I always thought that the texting ban would be nearly impossible to enforce. When they're talking on the phone it's pretty obvious from outside the car. With Texting the only way an officer could try to cite someone is if he saw them looking down and that could have any number of explanations.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
Levi, it is actually easy to see if someone was texting once you pull them over. Check their messages, and see if they sent one in the last minute or so. But, that is against our privacy laws.
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Posted by Bruce Helland (+594) 12 years ago
The real problem, IMHO, is that to many people equate their cell phone to their home phone. Witness the loud 'private' conversations we all have 'overheard' in resturants, coffee shops, or even walking down the sidewalks. It seems that we have yet to come to grips that we are not in our private homes when the phone rings.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
I have Bruce. I generally don't care if someone hears what I say. Especially when it makes them feel awkward. :P
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Posted by MRH (+1522) 12 years ago
I have Bruce. I generally don't care if someone hears what I say. Especially when it makes them feel awkward.


Yes, probably even when it inteferes with another's converstation. That is the way you are coming across in this thread.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2313) 12 years ago
No No, I don't mean it that way. I'm not obnoxious when on my phone, and I don't use it in businesses. But If I am using it walking down the street, then yeah.
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Posted by Ryan (+485) 12 years ago
We were driving down Valley Drive East yesterday to go to Renyolds and this guy was texting on his cell phone over the steering wheel. When you see this it makes you ask "Is he really paying attention to the rode?"
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Posted by ty head (+105) 12 years ago
Ryan: Ya if you shook your head at the driver, it was me. haha
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Posted by dudemeister (+93) 12 years ago
did this go to the city council for the 2nd vote yet & if so, how did that turn out? anyone know?
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Posted by Cynthia A. (+193) 12 years ago
maybe invest in a $10 ear piece from walmart. Since the amount of kids I see leaving the school and texting or talking and the amount of adults that are texting and drinking coffee and driving is way too many ~ I support. If you can afford a cell, you can probably pick up a wired or unwired ear piece ~
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6173) 12 years ago
Ear pieces will not help you maintain your concentration on your driving. If you talk and drive anyway, don't bother.
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Posted by stephen (+258) 12 years ago
I actually had a CD player in my car with blue tooth compatibility. You could have the entire conversation through your stereo.
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Posted by jassar (+28) 12 years ago
Well i decided to throw in my few cents worth and i am sure will upset a few.

This thread is sort of a sad commentary in many ways. we have become a society of multitaskers. we are not satisfied with just being in the moment. we stopped noticing the world around us and become more impatient when things and sometimes people get in our way. an earlier thread talked about the world before cell phones and how we managed to function without them. now we are arguing about the RIGHT to yak on the phone while driving. It just seems so absurd. both actions are privileges (driving and cell phone usage) not rights.

i was teaching at MCC for a while and actually had a young man answer his phone in class. he proceeded to continue his conversation...., loudly. Totally oblivious to the group discussion we were having in class. I ended up stopping class temporarily and we all focused our attention on him while he finished his conversation. (since he was talking over us and i couldn't get his attention)He didn't even realize that class had come to a halt. I considered his behavior disrespectful and downright rude to everyone in the class.He didn't see it that way. he was taking care of business. He oddly enough did not make it through the semester. A little problem with focusing and lots of excuses why he needed to have his phone in class, why he missed class or was behind on assignments. He also lost any credibility in class when he was part of a discussion from the other students. They were relieved when he didn't come back. I don't want to even imagine what he was like outside of the classroom, driving and talking. I have had students text in class during a class discussion and have not noticed that i have walked up behind them until i lean over and touch their shoulder and whispered in thier ear to shut their phone off. They have usually jumped out of their seat. Some of us are better at multitasking than others i guess.

With all this technology, it appears what we think makes us feel smarter and more efficient has possibly made us a bit more "stupid" i.e.lack of judgement,tact, spelling, openmindedness, etc), less competent (i.e. social graces etc) and less independent (can't survive without the cell phone, car, computer).

Josh, since you seem to be one that appreciates honesty.... and i mean no disrespect, i appreciate your energy and enthusiasm. What i struggle with is your lack is maturity which i attribute to your age. You are so very young, very absolute and somewhat arrogant in your thinking. This comes across in many of your threads. One of these days i fear your overconfidence and possible arrogance will come back to bite you, hopefully not when you are driving and talking on the phone.

I currently live in Helena. I don't know how many times i have had to stop in an intersection or swerve around someone who was talking on a cell phone (handheld and handsfree)not attending to the road,running stop signs, lights or moving lanes. This covers all ages not just teens. Same experience in Miles City just more people. I also know that i have not been as attentive when i have answered the phone while driving or tried to call someone when i was running late. I just don't do it anymore. not worth the risk. i have a RIGHT to be safe but i also have the OBLIGATION to not put others in danger by my actions no matter how competent i may be feeling in my skills.

i do agree that it will be a difficult law to enforce. Much like seatbelts were back when. Maybe with this action and through education and experience, folks will figure out that talking on the cell etc is not safe and the refrain of use will become as automatic as wearing the seat belt.(of course i do acknowledge that perhaps those who do not want the government telling them what they can and cannot do possibly don't wear their seatbelts, so this may be a mute point)

just my 5 cents worth.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3708) 12 years ago
did this go to the city council for the 2nd vote yet & if so, how did that turn out? anyone know?


Surely someone can answer this question.
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